Upgrade Harman Kardon AVR 335
Picked this up on eBay and it arrived today. I know that this is "pro" equipment, but I figured it was worth picking up for $40 shipped if it really did reduce jitter per the manufacturer. Hooked it up between my WDTV Live media player and my DAC (inexpensive 24/96 DAC also from eBay) with a Toslink going to the input, coaxial output to the DAC.
Immediately, I noticed more bass, to the point that I felt it necessary to turn down my sub a little bit. Once I dialed it down a notch, I felt like the bass was actually better defined than before, where I could more easily follow the bass line in certain songs. Can't say that the midrange and highs sound all that much different, and if so, it wasn't nearly as obvious as the increased bass.
With my WDTV Live playing FLAC files which are stored on a NAS hard drive, I figure that's about the most "lo-fi" source equipment possible. My hope is that this Behringer unit will help clean up the incoming signal somewhat before passing it on to the DAC. With the Audio Alchemy stuff becoming more and more rare, this seemed like a good, cheap alternative. There's also a Behringer SRC2496 which can upsample the incoming 16 bit signal to 24 bit, but I'm not convinced that actually leads to better sound.
Anyways, figured I'd throw this out there for anyone else using a cheap media player as a source component. In a few days, I'm getting a Boxee Box to replace the WDTV Live, which is definitely more feature-packed (gapless FLAC playback at last!), but likely just as compromised as far as signal purity is concerned.